Decatur mayoral candidates make final push ahead of runoff

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DECATUR, Ala – Municipal runoff elections are on Tuesday. In Decatur, Mayor Tab Bowling will faceoff with former councilman Butch Matthews.

“We can’t go door to door like we normally would. Now you have to get the message in a different way,” said Mayor Tab Bowling on the challenges in running for office during the pandemic.

Mayor Bowling says social media, tv ads and message boards around town have been his go-to.

For Matthews, you may have seen him around town waving at cars with Raphael from the cartoon Ninja Turtles.

“We’ve got to get that sewage fixed. That problem has been going on too long. We just tiptoeing around like it’s not a big deal. It’s a big deal especially when you want people to move to the city,” Matthews said.

Both candidates say sewage overflow is a top priority. Bowling has voiced frustrations in the past to Decatur Utilities, saying the utility is impacting infrastructure progress in Decatur.

“That’s going to end up doing a lot of damage to our streets as they make those improvements. We have to have excellent coordination between the organizations,” Bowling said.

Bowling believes Decatur needs stability in office. The position of mayor in Decatur has frequent turnover and whoever wins will get a new city council. Bowling wants to continue his projects while helping guide a new council.

“Working on improving the Six Avenue corridor. That’s like our foyer. It’s no different than coming into someone’s home,” Bowling said.

Matthews is urging residents to cast their ballot. He says if voters don’t like the current pace of the fixes around the city, their vote is better off with him.

“That reason and that reason alone is very important that you get up off that couch, that you stop from one of those meetings or shopping, and you make sure the first thing you do you should go and vote,” Matthews said.

Prior to the runoff, seven candidates were on the mayoral ballot. Matthews says he feels like he’s getting votes from the five mayoral candidates that didn’t make it to the runoff. Matthews received roughly 17 percent of the previous vote while Bowling received 47 percent.

Both candidates consider themselves friends and have known each other since they were younger. Ahead of the election, both agreed to run a clean race. Both Bowling and Matthews think they’ve held on to that promise.

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